4 December 2015
What is Slack?
Slack is a messaging app for teams and groups. It’s been receiving some very positive reviews for the way it helps cut down on emails, makes communication more transparent and collaboration more effective by bringing the team’s messages and files together in one place.
A trial with staff and students at the University of Southampton found that it was straightforward to use which meant they could start collaborating on their project straight away without any training. What they liked best was that it reduced the number of emails yet improved communication and sharing. Private spaces could be created which meant staff and students could work together or separately on projects.
How is Slack Organised?
Teams: Slack is a place for teams to communicate and collaborate. You’re probably part of many different teams at work, at university, in social groups or clubs, so Slack allows you to create an online home for each team and you get a web address for each team.
Channels: Once you’re on your team’s page, it’s likely that there will be several conversations about different projects or topics. You might not need to be involved in every conversation so you can organise each topic into channels, then just visit the channels you need to know about. You can even have public and private channels of conversation.
Ideas for using Slack in education
- Group work: Students can create teams for collaborating and organising group work or projects privately, whilst allowing the tutor to communicate with the group
- Collaboration: Share files and web links or have group or private conversations
- Communication: Make contact with people who can’t come to campus through a live chat (uses Google hangouts)
- Connect with professionals, e.g. A group of educators has formed the SlackEDU Group to explore using Slack in class and for research
- Clubs and societies: Connect with colleagues or peers with similar interests from across the organisation by creating special interest groups or teams for your club or society
- Inter-college collaboration: Work with staff and students from partner colleges and universities
Slack is also available to download on your computer
Activity 1: For people with a @uwl.ac.uk email address
- Download the app
- Go to the UWL 12 Apps Team Page https://the12apps.slack.com/signup and enter your UWL email address to register
- Find the #recommend-an-app channel and use it to tell us which app you use most often and why
- Make it a conversation by commenting on another post
Activty 2: For everyone
Slack works best with more than one person, so for this activity you’ll need a partner or a team!
- Download the app
- Sign up and create a team (Or if you’ve been invited by someone, sign up using your email address).
- Creating a team? Choose your team name e.g. name of module, department, course, family, team (you can change this later)
- Invite someone to join your team: Enter their email address and invite
- Create a channel on the conversation/project topic of your choice (or join a channel created by your team):
- Find the dark purple side bar on the left (using a smart phone? you may need to tap the slack icon in the top left to reveal the side bar)
- Tap the plus icon next to channels
- Create the channel or search to find one created by your team
- Message your team to tell them what you’d like for Christmas
- Upload something: Take a photo and share it with your team
What do you think?
Is this app useful for you? How might you use it? Any tips for us? Share your ideas and insights by leaving a reply below, or on twitter @UWL12apps #UWL12apps
Written by Anna Armstrong, Academic Developer in Technology-Enhanced Learning at the University of West London
12 Apps of Christmas by the University of West London is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.